Dr. Gary Wurtz and Bill Elliott admire the beautiful interior of the newly renovated and expanded Griffith Fine Arts Building

Dr. Gary Wurtz, right, dean of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts, and Bill Elliott, fine arts and SFA benefactor, admire the beautiful interior of the newly renovated and expanded Griffith Fine Arts Building to be showcased during grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 17. A Centennial Concert at 4 p.m. will be the first performance in the refreshed Turner Auditorium.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The start of a new academic year at Stephen F. Austin State University is only a few short days away. When students arrive on campus to begin classes Aug. 28, they’ll have a year of special memories ahead of them as SFA celebrates its 100th year.
Among the many reasons for celebration is the opening of the newly renovated and expanded Griffith Fine Arts Building, which will be open when classes begin.
Fine arts faculty and staff continue to get settled into their new offices and classrooms, and everyone is eager to show off the building’s beautifully stated interior and state-of-the-art technology. More than three years in the making, SFA’s Fine Arts Expansion Initiative is now a reality, and the $53 million project is nearly complete.
“This is an exciting time for SFA, and we have much to celebrate,” said SFA Interim President Gina Oglesbee. “Not only are we celebrating 100 years of SFA’s educational excellence, but we’re also celebrating a new chapter for the Griffith Fine Arts Building. The state-of-the art facility is a testament to innovation, collaboration and vision. It’s a place where imaginations will flourish and dreams will become reality. It’s a place for students to find their future in the fine arts and for us all to enrich our lives in art, music, theatre and dance.”
The building’s official “grand opening” will coincide with SFA’s Centennial Celebration taking place Sept. 15 through 18. An open house at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, includes a ribbon-cutting and unveiling ceremonies in the second-floor lobby. The ceremony will be followed by the 4 p.m. choral and orchestral world premiere performance of an original composition by Dr. Stephen Lias, SFA professor of composition, using the writings of celebrated poet and former SFA faculty member Karle Wilson Baker to inspire a work that honors SFA’s 100 years of educational contributions and service. The Centennial Concert featuring “How Proud the Pines” will be the first performance to take place in the newly renovated Turner Auditorium.
“The beautiful Griffith Fine Arts Building is a monument on this campus that demonstrates SFA’s commitment to the fine arts and fine arts education,” said Dr. Gary Wurtz, dean of the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts. “Throughout its history, SFA has embraced all arts disciplines as a way to enhance the educational experience of the university community, as well as the entire town.
“Students enrolled at SFA this fall will benefit from the most beautiful, spacious, functional and technologically advanced facilities imaginable, which will lead to countless unique opportunities for developing and honing their artistry,” he added. “We also look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors at concerts, exhibits, recitals and plays, and we foresee impactful outreach through the hosting of UIL competitions and community events, like the Heritage Festival coronation.”
The open house will also feature self-guided tours of the building before the auditorium is opened for its first public viewing and concert. While all activities of the day are free and open to the public, the concert is a ticketed event due to limited seating. Complimentary tickets, available while they last, can be obtained by contacting the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or boxoffice@sfasu.edu starting Sept. 1.
The Fine Arts Expansion Initiative extended the Griffith Fine Arts Building along North Street. In addition to the renovations to Turner Auditorium, the state-of-the-art building has two dance studios, two new theatres, recording studio, sound stage, audio and video editing rooms, an art gallery, multiple classrooms, rehearsal facilities, faculty offices and the offices of the Elliott College of Fine Arts dean. The facilities house the college’s sound recording technology, filmmaking, theatre, dance and musical theatre programs.
For more information, visit sfasu.edu/finearts or call the Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407.